Comments generally favorable on Morrison's paid-parking system

Attendees at meeting say some glitches remain

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/3/21

About a half dozen business owners and residents at a Morrison Town Board meeting on Aug. 31 said they generally liked the managed parking program, though they believe there are glitches to work out. …

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Comments generally favorable on Morrison's paid-parking system

Attendees at meeting say some glitches remain

Posted

About a half dozen business owners and residents at a Morrison Town Board meeting on Aug. 31 said they generally liked the managed parking program, though they believe there are glitches to work out.

“I love this town and the (paid) parking idea because people come into town, and they leave the cars here all day,” said Les Gomez, owner of Beso de Arte, “but the way it works, it's not helping businesses be successful. I don't want to have to field questions for a parking company. I'm trying to run a restaurant with COVID, limited staff and limited customers.”

Gomez explained that customers were coming into the restaurant bewildered by the paid parking program, which started in mid-June, and his staff was stopping restaurant duties to answer parking questions.

In response, Gareth Lloyd, owner of Interstate Parking Inc., which operates Morrison's pilot program, said his staff would create informational fliers and place a parking system QR code in the restaurant to help with the issues.

The Morrison Town Board decided to institute a paid-parking program through Interstate Parking in response to businesses' concerns about the lack of parking in downtown Morrison. Board members wanted to stop people from parking in the downtown area, only to return hours later without frequenting Morrison businesses.

Mayor Sean Forey told the group that the Town Board would decide at its Sept. 21 meeting whether to continue the program on a month-to-month basis and has slated the Dec. 7 meeting to decide whether to continue the program permanently.

Interstate Parking, which also operates similar systems in Idaho Springs, Breckenridge, Keystone and more, uses kiosks placed throughout the downtown area and a smartphone app. 

Lloyd said since the program was implemented in mid-June, there have been 30,000 transactions for the 160 parking spaces — half through the kiosks and half through the app. The average user is spending $2.18 for parking.

The trial parking management system runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The first 30 minutes are free, with the next 30 minutes $1. The second hour costs $1.50, third hour $2, fourth hour $3 and subsequent hours $5. A violation is $30 and doubles in 10 days for nonpayment.

Paul Thompson, owner of Red Rocks Beer Garden, said he went to Idaho Springs, which instituted a similar program a few years ago. He said Idaho Springs businesses owners told him the first year was rocky, but they saw sales increases and now like the program.

Thompson said he's noticed an increase in sales over the summer, attributing it to the paid-parking program.

“Overall, this is really good for the town,” Thompson said. “Parking has a cost, and we have a finite amount of spaces. We need to maximize parking for customers.”

Attendees said they were happy with the parking system, and they believed it made sense to keep it going rather than stopping it for the winter months and starting it again.

Some were concerned with people who didn't have smartphones or credit cards, so they have problems using the kiosks or the app.

Their comments contradicted Butch Luedtke, owner of the Morrison Inn, who told the Town Board in July that he was concerned his regular customers — not tourists — would become frustrated with paying for parking and would not frequent his and other businesses. He also was concerned about his employees' safety as they walk long distances to their cars on dark roads where parking is free.

Those at the meeting suggested that the money the town gets from the parking system — which is 40% of the revenue after expenses — should be used for more parking or for promoting the town.

“The money won't go back in the general fund,” Forey said. “This is not a huge revenue generator. The town isn't doing this for revenue. We're doing it to help serve the businesses.”

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